The holiday season is a time when many people make travel plans, and also host out-of-town guests in their homes. If you’re the one traveling, it might seem like obvious etiquette to be a gracious houseguest to whomever you are staying with. But growing up, my parents always imparted on me that it was just as important to be a gracious host or hostess, and make your guests feel comfortable. After all, your loved ones may have traveled a long way to be with you, and you want to show them how glad you are to see them. If you think of playing hostess as an inconvenience that you’re going to resent even the slightest bit, it’s better to simply say no. If you do agree to host, it is up to you to make your guests feel welcome.
Especially if you’re a 20-something living in a small space, your houseguest knows not to expect 5-star hotel-style accommodations. But whether you’re offering up a spacious guest room, an air mattress, or even just a couch, you can still put certain touches in place that will make your guest’s stay as comfortable as possible. Here are a few tips…
1. Do a Deep Clean
If your home is normally a little less than spic and span, do a big cleanup before your guests arrive. Having a clean space is a sure way of showing that you take pride in your home, and will ensure that your guests feel comfortable staying there. If you’ve been procrastinating, use your guests’ upcoming visit as motivation to get rid of clutter or even do a little redecorating.
2. Gather Up Guest Room Essentials
As a guest, you don’t want to keep bothering your host for basic items you need during your stay. That is why the best host or hostess will lay out any necessities ahead of time. Fresh sheets and a stack of clean towels are a given. But if you want to go above and beyond, there are a few other touches I recommend:
- Making room in a closet or dresser so your guest doesn’t have to be living out of a suitcase
- A selection of toiletries including toothpaste, a spare toothbrush, face wash, body wash, shampoo and conditioner that work for any hair type, cotton swabs, and lotion
- A stack of magazines
- Bottled water or a carafe
- Fresh blooms on the night stand
- An extra blanket in case your guest gets cold
- House slippers
- Spare rolls of toilet paper stashed where your guests can easily find them, to avoid any embarrassment
3. Write Down Household Instructions
To make things easier on you and your guest, provide a one-sheet of household information. Include your Wi-Fi password and instructions on how to use your remote, alarm system, washer/dryer, etc. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also make a list of local activities and sites to see. Share the name of your favorite coffee shop, fun restaurants, shopping hubs, and more.
4. Make a Copy of Your Key
Do yourself and your guest a favor, and make a copy of your key. Houseguests are most comfortable when they can come and go as they please. The last thing they will want to be doing is bothering you while you’re at work to make sure you’ll be home on time to let them back in.
5. Make for Comfortable Sleeping Arrangements
As far as whether or not to give guests your bed, that is often a matter of personal judgment. But as a rule of thumb, if the guest is of an older generation (ie. your parents or other older relatives), you should definitely give them your room and take the couch. If your guest is a peer who is happy enough to be saving money on a hotel room, it’s OK to let them stay in the living room. The same goes for parking spots. If it is hard to park on your street, you may consider saving your best parking spot for your guest.
There you have it! I hope these tips help. I also recommend following up with a note or email, letting your guests know how happy you were to have them.
Do you have any other tips for making houseguests feel comfortable?
I’d love it if you shared them in the comments.